(FREE) Belgacom has swiftly capitalised on
its purchase of a 40 percent stake in Belgian mobile payments
specialist Tunz in March with the unveiling of partnerships and
initiatives aimed at achieving what it terms “a rapid breakthrough
in mobile micro-payments.”
Tunz’s mobile payments platform enables
person-to-person payments, internet payments, ticketing and
contactless payments, the focus of Belgacom’s new partnerships.
At a press conference held a week after the
Tunz deal’s announcement, the Belgian telecommunications company
revealed that it has partnered with Accor Services, Delhaize and
Coca-Cola to undertake developments in the mobile phone-based
contactless micro-payments space.
Belgacom and its partners have launched
PingPing as the brand for their micro-payments initiatives.
The focus of Belgacom’s partnership with
Accor, a major player in the global employee benefits market, is a
pilot project in which Accor’s Ticket Restaurant luncheon voucher
will be incorporated as a contactless payments solution in the form
of a near field communication (NFC) sticker on mobile phones.
The pilot project will encompass 500 employees
at Belgacom’s head office and 500 employees at Belgian food
retailer Delhaize with which Belgacom will also undertake
additional contactless payments trials at one of the retailer’s
stores in the city of Brussels.
In its partnership with Coca-Cola, Belgacom
will undertake trials using NFC-sticker equipped mobile phones to
make contactless payments at drinks vending machines.
Belgacom is no stranger to mobile phone
payments, its Belgian mobile network operating unit Proximus having
launched a short message service (SMS) transport ticketing system
in conjunction with Flemish public transport company De Lijn in
2007. In 2008 226,000 SMS tickets were sold.
Consolidating its market position, Belgacom
last year acquired Belgian SMS parking payments specialist
In 2008, 1.3 million parking transactions were
registered with the number expected to reach 2 million in 2009.
On the mobile remittance front, Belgacom
International Carrier Services’ (Belgacom ICS) joint venture with
French mobile technology vendor eServGlobal, Homesend, successfully
tested a remittance corridor between Belgium and a mobile network
operator (MNO) in an unnamed North African country in March this
According to Belgacom, ICS HomeSend is the
first mobile-centric global hubbing service for international
remittance, airtime exchange and roaming recharge.
Tests from Europe and the Middle East to South
East Asia, and within Africa and South East Asia are being
Belgacom and Swiss telecommunications company
Swisscom Fixnet have stakes of 72 percent and 28 percent,
respectively, in Belgacom ICS, which serves over 200 MNO’s and is
currently ranked as the world’s eighth-largest voice-traffic